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Achievements in environmental protection lauded
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China has reconciled environmental protection with economic development in recent years and achieved a great deal in this regard, a UN environmental official said Friday.

The Chinese government has attached great importance to environmental protection and taken drastic measures to eliminate pollution, said Bakary Kante, director of the Division of Environmental Conventions of the UN Environment Program, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the city of Lille.

He told reporters that he had noted during his three visits to China that the Asian country has long realized the importance of a good environment and committed itself to preserving the environment in its drive to build a booming economy.

Kante maintains that members of the international community should accept "common but differentiated" responsibilities in environmental protection.

Developed countries, which started industrialization in the 17th century, are responsible for the accumulated pollution dating back to the period. Meanwhile, developing countries should try their best not to harm the environment in their pursuit of economic benefits as environmental damage is always irreparable, he said.

For developing countries, which are faced with a seemingly difficult choice between development and environmental protection, a good environment is actually a valuable device that could serve as a powerful locomotive for sustainable development, the UN official said.

During the Lille forum, Kante met many young students, "whose strong environmental awareness has given him quite a relief," he said.

"They are willing to make efforts for this purpose," he said, adding that this willingness will make a big difference for the environment in the future.

(Xinhua News Agency October 11, 2008)

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